16 Jun 2006
Is Our Collective Oil Dependence an Addiction? Further Reflections on the Matter …
The recent post exploring whether or not our relationship to oil can be seen in terms of a dependency certainly got you going, and yielded some fascinating comments. Some other discussion boards on the net picked up the article and some people could barely restrain their fury at the notion that we might be addicted to oil. The feedback on **Transition Culture** was very interesting, a good balance of for and against. I wanted to make a few observations on some of the comments and respond to some of the points they raised.
A number of people raised the point that we are no more addicted to oil than we are to other life essentials. Mike Bendzela thought the comparison to addiction was *”overwrought and inadequate”*, and that *”we are addicted to oil in the same way that we are ‘addicted’ to oxygen”*. This is an interesting point, at what stage does our relationship with a or a behaviour become unhealthy? We can wash our hands a few times a day, or we be be obsessive about handwashing. We can eat 3 meals a day or we can have the unhealthy relationship to food that means we have to make ourselves vomit after every meal. I imagine it could be possible to have an unhealthy dependent relationship with oxygen too, if we were to become fixated on the sense of elation caused by breathing in pure oxygen and had to have lots of canisters of it around the house.
I contacted Mary-Jayne Rust, a psychotherapist in London who does a lot of work in the addictions, eating disorder field. She wrote;
>”we are dependent on everything we eat, breathe and co-exist with, to stay alive. But in our urbanized and more culturally complex lives, it is often hard to tell the difference between essential dependencies and more recently created dependencies … we have existed for thousands of years without oil, so it is not an essential dependency. Yet if we were to remove oil tomorrow without changing the structure of our society, we would experience total breakdown